Community Music School Offers Opportunities for Young String Students

The Community Music School (CMS) has announced a new collaboration with Southwestern College and Amber Peterson, associate professor of music and the Mazie Barnett Kilmer Chair for Strings Education at Southwestern College. Beginning in the fall of 2021, the SC Pre-College String Ensembles will be available through CMS and will offer a wide array of ensembles and music education opportunities for young string students.

“The Community Music School is very excited about this new partnership with Dr. Peterson and we feel this will be a wonderful opportunity for young orchestra musicians in our community and beyond,” said Michelle Zakharov, director of the CMS. “After a year of social distancing and being as safe as we can, having the opportunity to bring young musicians together to learn in the community will be a much-needed change.”

eStyles and Camerata will be offered on Monday evenings at 5 and 5:45 p.m. eStyles is available to 8th-12th grade string students.

“This ensemble will be a lot of fun for students since we will be exploring eclectic styles of string music, including fiddle, jazz, mariachi, and more,” said Peterson.

Students will learn the basics of improvisation and continue to develop general playing technique. No audition is required.

Camerata is a chamber orchestra offered to 9th-12th grade students that will help string students develop musical maturity and independence by playing in a smaller ensemble, often without a conductor. Intermediate and advanced technique will continue to be addressed with solo possibilities for interested players. 

Advanced members of Camerata may be invited to join the South Kansas Symphony as SKS Apprentices. An apprenticeship with The South Kansas Symphony requires that the student be a member of Camerata.

“The South Kansas Symphony is a full orchestral ensemble in which SC string, wind, and percussion students of all majors can collaborate with local community musicians, continuing a long tradition of orchestral music in South Central Kansas,” Peterson said. 

Masterworks, concerti, and lighter pieces are performed by the symphony each season. SKS will meet on Monday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Auditions to become an SKS apprentice are scheduled for September 1, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the CMS website or email

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